What Is Your American Dream? (The Immigrant Perspective)

In 1931, historian James Adams first publicly defined the American Dream. Adams’ often-repeated quote is, “The American Dream is that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

I think that’s a truly wonderful philosophy, honestly.

But I think we, the immigrant kids, really need to sit down and think about what that means to us. Today is a day and age of opportunity and mass immigration. I understand that these ideas of happiness may not be seen as holistically as they were initially intended to be. Every individual defines their own idea of happiness. I can imagine that for some people happiness may equate to a better home environment. It may mean better mental and physical health. It may mean loving and fulfilling relationships. And an opportunity to grow as an individual, both professionally and personally. I know that I look at happiness that way. For many others, it may include expanding their economic equity. Being at the forefront of business management in the financial district. Being involved in policymaking and the ability to drive socio-economic change, yada-yada.
The list continues.

It is hard to imagine a place that offers you the opportunity to practice these things. It’s hard to find your place in the country today. With real-life restrictions such as visa status, overpopulation, mass immigration, and racial discrimination. I think some of the retaliation is justified. It’s a little eerie to watch the flawed expectations people keep while moving to a country with said opportunities. For many, they don’t feel heard in their home countries. Their living situations are direr. There is a lack of social freedom and self-care. And they taste opportunity and compassion when they move here. I don’t deny any of that. But in the process, people build a distorted lens with which they view this country and their own home town.

But is money and opportunity all we’re looking for? What about the freedom to love anybody we want? The freedom to choose to spend our lives with people who come from different walks of life? Freedom to be Queer and still be here. To find support in battles towards mental health, and destigmatization of it. Freedom to choose a better education system? Or to find passion in work and work in your passions? I know it’s all big talk, but is it though? These concerns are real right? And I refuse to apologize for demanding open-mindedness and acceptance. Because that’s what it’s all about. And that doesn’t have to be the Indian dream or the American dream, or even the Brazilian Dream for all I care. All of us need a voice, and everyone deserves acceptance. As long as that’s out in the open, it doesn’t matter how many extra dollars you make. You’ll be happy for a little bit, but at the end of the day life is about the little things isn’t it?

I have family in Satkhol, a town near Nainital which is pretty low key. Their cheese is locally produced and bread freshly baked. They also harvest rainwater their own. None of that knorr cheese and bisleri bottle nonsense. And they’re urban city upper management folks who decided to ditch the city life and move away. Does that scare you? Well, maybe you need to rethink your lifestyle a little bit. Every day I spend with them, I’m the happiest. Even without the materialistic. We manage to grill fantastic chicken, drink fine wine. We read books, cuddle up, watch movies or listen to songs and laugh like there’s no tomorrow. The ice-cold clean Himalayan air rushing down my lungs is one of the most rejuvenating feelings I’ve had in life. It feels like someone’s turned a bucket of cold water over my head and I can think again. Reprioritize.

So, I’d like to ask you, Dear Reader:

Do you REALLY need all that money and stature to do well? Is it worth pushing your selves for 60 hours a week till you burn out so that you can invest in a house a couple of years down the line and put photos on Instagram? How long do you think your neighbors would stay jealous? A week?  A month? A year at max I bet!

Is it worth it though to sell yourself like a slave so that you can buy a life that other people think is worth living?

What I’m trying to say is, DON’T GET DISTRACTED BY ALL THE SHINY THINGS.

All that glitters is not gold. 

Sure. Clearly.

As we move into this phase of young adulthood, we’re not in that space anymore where we constantly need external validation. We don’t need to woo the hottest girl in the batch to make our peers jealous. Similarly, we don’t need to buy the richest house or the most expensive car to prove anything to mom and dad or uncles and aunties. Our lives are our own, and we should be the leads in our own stories. Don’t let somebody else’s priorities define your ideals. You’d only lose yourself in the process.

So dear immigrant kids, before you make your next big career move and run over to the US or anywhere else, I’d strongly urge you to think about what you’re running towards and what you’re running away from. That’ll help you clear your mind and make a choice you’d genuinely enjoy living with. There’s always light at the end of any tunnel. Trust me, I know that.

Don’t sell yourself short.

Dream big!
Demand creativity and understanding.
Demand love.
Taste freedom.
But most important of all:
Take Control, And run after what was yours, to begin with.

My Take On The EndGame

With the Avengers Endgame smashing movie records, its fans are overwhelmed by the awesomeness of it all. Amidst my adoration for characters and my feelings of gloom around the end of an era, I can’t help but feel a little disappointed. The word ‘too much’ keeps coming to mind. Too much death. Too much sadness. Too much loss of hope. To the extent that things felt a little disproportional to me. Now, I know that half the population was wiped out and everything, but then again- all of us know the stakes of an intergalactic invasion! I think the end game did a good job of portraying how humane our superheroes were and depicting their journies through this trying time, but I still felt that all the characters were not used justly and believe that things could’ve have been a little different.

I was completely onboard with Iron Man’s portrayal in the movie. His avatar was timid and protective of himself, a side of him we had never seen before. He is weak, and scared post journey with Nebula and wants to stay with the love, warmth, and comfort of his family. But of course, he is conflicted between his love for his family and the safety of his people who he has sworn to protect. It’s quite a painful ordeal, really to go through. Hence he is brittle, which is quite unusual for him but under the vulnerability of being human, he is still Iron Man. And like Potts says, nothing’s ever really stopped him from caring for his people. So he should get out there and do what he does best- kick ass! Barton’s journey was also quite relatable. He is a world-class trained assassin who lost his whole family – everything he loved that kept him human. There is no way that that story ends well. Anyone in his place would lose their balance and turn into a world-class assassin that they once were. It’s the most natural response to grief: plunge into your darkest bits because the pain is so much, it feels like they’re no overcoming it. Even after that, he had a soft corner for Black Widow. That again, just shows that he’s mourning the loss of his family. And this is just his way to mourn.

I understand Dr. Strange now. And his loss in the last movie does not hurt so much. He did what he thought was best- by giving the infinity stone he played at the chance of winning by pushing everyone to the end game. But, in my opinion, Thor and Hulk were definitely the most underused and under-treated characters in the whole movie. I understand that his spirit was broken, and fat Thor did not repel me because he was fat. In fact, just like everyone processes grief differently, he clearly also could not handle the defeat given how empathetic and worthy he is. He is at his lowest of lows, and that, in itself speaks volumes about how broken he is. But I wish that they’d kept his personal journey shorter and his grief period less messy. Of course, when he gave up his title as leader of the Asguaryens to Valkyrie, it goes to show that he has finally chosen to stop burdening himself with the responsibility of the kingdom and has decided to move on to better things. But I still feel like his character deserved a more tasteful grieving period. Not because he’s a god, but because he’s not one. He didn’t NEED to sink into so much darkness to show the helplessness of it all. I believe in his ability to have handled it better. But I understand the storyline and am in full support to what did they did with fat thor ❤ In the end, he was still cute and invincible. His fight scenes in the war were amazing!

Hulk, on the other hand, seemed to go on a journey that did not make sense to me. It took from him, the authenticity of his volatile nature. Banner tried to accept both sides of his personality by creating a fusion of Hulk- the superhuman and banner- the human to create a Hulk-ish character that was green but not angry and did not justify the powerful impact that Hulk could make.  Again, to me, it seemed unnecessary. All the characters simultaneously did not HAVE to plunge into a really dark place. it didn’t make sense to me. Even within a group of people hit my the same tragedy, everyone doesn’t react the same way. And everyone doesn’t react to the same degree. Which is why I don’t get why it has to be a mass calamity.

Also, what got me most worked up is, I REALLY needed more of a reaction from EVERYBODY when black widow died. OMG, Scarlette deserved a few gasps and rolling tears. For all her years of jaw-dropping performance, she definitely deserved a more expressive goodbye. Not a *shrug* She’s dead, everyone’s dead, nevermind. 

The more I write, the more I realize that I have a problem with the direction and screenplay of the movie. There was so much slow-motion music and drama that it really diluted the urgency of the movie. Instead, to me, it made it a little slow and melodramatic. I wish it wasn’t though, because it kept completely different energy than the infinity war. Which does not make sense because this was the next part! Either they should not have jumped on to 5 years later, and that way they could’ve maintained the tone. Or they could’ve done 5 years later at the end of infinity war, with everybody heartbroken and then started on the slow melodramatic note that they did. At least, then the audience would be expecting the emotional rollercoaster they received.

All in all, it’s the end of an era, and it was a hell of a journey!
I loved it 3000 😘 ❤
Pinky swear!